Addiction · Blog · Career Coaching · Recovery Coaching

Are you Striving for Greatness or Addicted to Perfection?

Pre-Lakers I was an avid LeBron James fan for a myriad of reasons. I was such a fan that my kids and I named our cat LeBron. One of the many reasons I like LeBron James is a mantra he lives by — “Strive for Greatness.”  While it’s a great mantra, how do we differentiate a relentless pursuit of greatness from a raging addiction to perfection?

It may sound crazy to parallel the two, but the similarities are undeniable. Much like an addiction, perfection is fleeting, elusive, driven by fear, and fueled by shame. What many people fail to realize about addiction is that the person/process/substance of choice is never the real problem—it is a symptom of an underlying problem. The addiction becomes a coping strategy that consumes the addict. If you find yourself struggling with an overwhelming need to attain perfection or a crushing call to be bigger, badder, and better, you may want to ask yourself one question.

How is this serving ME

While an all-consuming quest for perfection may be a great benefit to others, more often than not, this quest usually serves us on a more insidious level. Unfortunately, how it serves us may be self-defeating and more mentally, emotionally, and spiritually detrimental than it is positive. The darker side of this quest often serves us by shifting our focus away from some pain of our reality. Reaching for something unattainable is a great distraction from that which we cower from, which is usually emotional pain. 

Emotions are like the boogieman under your bed. They cause you to shudder in terror, but when you shine a light on it and face the fear, it disappears.

A job well done can be very fulfilling. It can feel rewarding to complete a home project, excel at work, or know that we’re a person who is punctual and conscientious. But when does our striving for excellence degenerate into a dysfunctional addiction to perfection? When shame is the driving force.

shame

Shame is the Catalyst of Debilitating Perfectionism

As children, many of us were rewarded at home and at school for achieving “results .”Unfortunately, many also have the experience of being shamed when we don’t meet the expectation of others. Whether we received painful tongue-lashings, the cold shoulder, or an icy stare of disapproval, we may have interpreted that to mean we are only accepted and loved when we’re “successful .”With this comes the belief that we are bad, unloveable, and unworthy of love and accepted when we fall short. This belief results in shame.

We develop a false, protective self through slow and steady toxic messaging that we display to the world to win praise and avoid the pain of disapproval. When our need for love and acceptance is not nurtured, we come to live with the overpowering voice of an inner critic that is so scrutinizing and cruel it produces a level of shame and self-doubt that could bring LeBron James to his knees.

A steady diet of shame for inevitable shortcomings can grow into debilitating perfectionism. If we can achieve perfection in all we do, we become bulletproof to blame and criticize. If we become “perfect” in all our endeavors, we increase our chances of avoiding the painful re-activation of shame.

Perfectionism and hyper-vigilance come at a cost. It isn’t easy to find true joy and fulfillment when we relentlessly pursue perfection. When our self-worth is tied to our actions rather than embracing ourselves as human beings with strengths and weaknesses—we set ourselves up for being anxiously preoccupied or depressed.

The Pathway to Peace

It is liberating to loosen the grip of perfectionism, but first, we need to recognize how shame may be driving you off track. When we begin to identify the shame and become mindful of how it lives in our body, we start to get distance from it rather than being driven by it. 

LeBron James - Strive for Greatness
The Inner Critic Haunts the GOAT

Learn to observe our inner critic objectively. “Ugh, there’s that shame again telling me I that I suck if I don’t do everything perfectly…and insisting that I’m destined to become homeless and die a sad, lonely death if I make one tiny mistake.” Identifying the voice of our inner critic empowers us to silence it and diminish the power it has over us. 

Being human means failing miserably at times. We learn and grow from our mistakes by humbly acknowledging them and being compassionate toward ourselves. We are more likely to succeed when we’re no longer paralyzed by the fear of failure.

When that inner critic chimes in, rewrite the script and channel a LeBron James pep-talk. “Stop caring about what other people think! Do your best, give it all you got. If you fail miserably, it’s an opportunity to turn that into your greatest achievement. Either way, it’s a win!”

The ability to reframe your perspective and rewrite the script is extraordinarily freeing! It gives you the power to find pleasure and meaning in activities regardless of whether you succeed or fail in any initiative. Each person needs to find their own balance and path. The key is to apply ourselves wholeheartedly without getting too attached to results. Strive for greatness while letting go of the burden of being obsessed with perfection or a specific outcome.

As you become mindful of the shame and fear that may be driving the cruel burden of perfectionism, remember that you don’t need to be perfect to be loved and accepted. When you feel compelled to displace the balance of your life and push painfully hard for perfection, make sure the compensation is worth the cost. Your self-worth is priceless, and you are worthy, loveable, and valid just as you are.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that LeBron James is an anomaly. And in my humble opinion, like most grotesquely overpaid professional athletes, he is very much addicted to perfecting his gift. But even he does not promote insist you strive for perfection; his mantra is Stive for Greatness. And even LeBron embraces and reframes his failures along his journey.

One last video… Addicted to Perfect

 

Life Coaching · Nutriton Coaching · Recovery Coaching · Wellness Coaching

Food Addiction, Weight Loss, and Life Coaching

You “eat clean” 80% of the time, exercise 5-7 days a week, don’t smoke, and you only drink on special occasions. Every Thanksgiving you even do a 5k Turkey Trot, and you not only participate in New Year’s weight-loss challenges, you CRUSH THEM every time.

Weight loss isn’t the problem for you. Keeping the weight off is another story.  If you KNOW how to lead a healthy lifestyle, to eat healthy and lean down, why is it you struggle to maintain a healthy weight?

BREATHE! –> You are not alone!

We live in a society that is FILLED with information and high expectations. We are doers. We see a problem, we take action, we learn how to fix it, we roll up our sleeves and go full force into “fixing it”…and we expect it to be “fixed” indefinitely.

Treating obesity as a problem to “fix” IS the problem.

woman wears yellow hard hat holding vehicle part

You are not a machine…

Being overweight is a symptom of a much larger, far more complicated issue, and lack of knowledge rarely has anything to do with it. (refer to Weight Loss Coaching for more) Treating obesity as a problem to “fix” IS the problem.

If you know alcohol, cigarettes, soda, fast food, pizza, chips, fried foods, baked goods and the like are doing nothing positive for your body, but you are compelled to ingest them, chances are the root of your problem has more to do with your emotions and deep-seeded self-defeating thought processes than your intellect.

Our relationship with food begins on our first day of life. We cry. We get food. We feel better. How that relationship evolves over the course of a lifetime is very complicated. The connection between food and our emotions is powerful. We are human beings – not human doings. When you are too busy “doing” and not taking time to “be,” we accumulate decades of unprocessed feelings. We lose touch with how we feel and how to feel; this is the root of the problem.

Stuffing our faces with calorie-rich, carb-rich, sweet, salty, and fatty foods is how we keep those feelings stuffed. These foods can be just as intoxicating and mind-numbing as any pharmaceutical – they are legal, readily available, and socially acceptable. These substances provide us with the fastest, cheapest, easiest way to mentally and emotionally check-out and the consequences they afflict us with distract us from ever having to acknowledge what is taking place. It is the perfect storm for a life of self-destruction and denial.

OK, so now I know what the real problem is…
just tell me how to fix it!

Patience Grasshopper

A mind and soul filled with repressed and suppressed feelings and emotions is a dangerous place to go alone. You can’t fix your thinking with your own thinking. That is why you need a Life Coach to navigate you through this minefield and help you reach higher ground.

With that said, you may be wondering why I’m not suggesting counseling.

How is Life Coaching different than therapy?

A Life Coach doesn’t diagnose or treat disorders and diseases of the mind. Life Coaching is about honoring you as a person and your ability to heal and solve your own issues with guidance and direction – to meet you where you are and build you up to where you want to be.

You know you better than anyone else. A Life Coach can help you see things from a different perspective and walk you through the mental blocks that are holding you back from becoming the person you want to be and living the life you long to live. Coaching is about helping you actualize and set goals, develop a plan of action and support you along the way.

blur close up key knot
Open the Door to Sustained Weight Loss

If you are one of those people who struggle to lose weight or keep the weight off long-term, Life Coaching may be the key to achieving and sustaining weight loss.

Addiction · Blog · Inspiration · Life Coaching · Nutriton Coaching · Recovery Coaching · Relationship Coaching · Wellness Coaching

Letting Go

We cannot move onto greater things when we continue to hold on to what no longer serves us.

People, possessions, behaviors, beliefs, attachments, ideas… All the things that once served an important purpose in our lives become the very things that hold us back when we refuse to let them go.

There cannot be a new beginning without an end. When we let go completely, we open ourselves up to infinite possibilities.

Inspiration · Life Coaching

Bloom Where You Are!

Many of us go through life with the mindset of “when I achieve this, everything will be ok” or “when I have this, I will be happy”…” when I lose 20lbs I will feel good”.

The fact of the matter is, sometimes life and its circumstances can be pretty lackluster. We spent a lot of time in the mud, and that’s how it goes. But regardless of one’s circumstances, it is possible to grow, shine and even THRIVE in the midst of the most unfavorable situations.

It’s all about your perspective! If you are stuck in the mud, it’s time to rise up and bloom!

Addiction · Life Coaching · Recovery Coaching · Relationship Coaching · Wellness Coaching

Recovery Coaching

BurningMan_Inner Child__edited.jpg
Addiction is a lifelong struggle. You can put the disease of addiction into remission through abstinence, but abstinence alone will never yield a happy, healthy, fulfilling life. Recovery is an ongoing process that enables one to be free from cravings, compulsions and addictive behaviors.

Treatment will get you sober, but it’s crucial to continue to work at developing and maintaining healthy coping strategies, thought processes and to overcome the default mindset that afflicts those who struggle with addiction. The reality is that no one is magically “fixed” once they complete treatment.

Sponsorship is one option that works for many in recovery; unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to find a sponsor who is available, safe, healthy and willing to devote time, energy and attention towards helping someone in recovery.

Choosing the wrong sponsor can be shattering to anyone in recovery.

abstract break broken broken glass

Unbeknownst to many of the newly sober, how many years one has in recovery is by no means an indication of how healthy, safe and sane one is. Anyone in early sobriety is exceptionally vulnerable to engaging in unhealthy relationships, and once one has been manipulated, controlled or betrayed by a sponsor, it can compromise your recovery. Even worse is having a sponsor who relapses. Few things are more devastating to a recovering addict than having their primary support system fall so hard back into the grips of addiction.

Recovery coaching gives you a qualified, certified, stable support system to carry you through all that life throws your way—it can be the difference between sustained long-term sobriety and relapse.

background conceptual contemporary creativity
CLICK HERE to connect with a Certified Recovery Coach